LONDON (CBSMiami) — Researchers in Britain say kids who regularly eat fast food could be on the fast track to getting heart disease and diabetes when they are older.
Ateeka Khwaja usually cooks at home for her three-year-old son, Aqoob, but when her schedule is tight, they will go somewhere fast to eat.
“Right now, I’m at a fried chicken place. I probably bring him here twice a month,” said Khwaja. “I don’t want him to eat too much takeaway.”
As families get busier, more parents are opting for take-out or home deliveries. But new research published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood finds children who frequently eat fast food could be at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes, as they get older.
“We found that children that reported eating takeaway meals regularly had higher fat, higher cholesterol and higher LDL cholesterol,” explained study author Angie Donin from St. George’s, University of London. “As well as poorer diets, generally.”
Researchers also found children might be missing out on vitamins and minerals. The study included two-thousand ethnically diverse children from mostly lower-income areas. Nearly a third of kids, ages nine and 10, reported having fast food at least once a week. That number jumped to 50-percent with teenagers.
Donin says she does not believe there are any signs of a change in eating behaviors.
Khwaja says she knows the dangers of too much fast food and is even starting to teach her son how to cook and bake healthy foods at home.
Researchers hope their findings will convince British lawmakers to provide healthier options for low-income families and to limit the number of fast food restaurants around schools.